Thursday, January 29, 2015

Battle of Harran 1104

It's nice occasionally to research an historical scenario and try to represent it on the table. So some of the Brothers made the trek out to my place one day with Seljuks and Crusaders in tow. 
The battle chosen was the Battle of Harran fought in 1104 shortly after the establishment of the crusader kingdoms.
In 1104 Baldwin II of Edessa had attacked and besieged the city of Harran. For his further support Baldwin sought help from Bohemond I of Antioch and Tancred, Prince of Galilee. Bohemond and Tancred marched north from Antioch to Edessa to join with Baldwin and Joscelin of Courtenay, accompanied by Bernard of Valence the Patriarch of AntiochDaimbert of Pisa the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Benedict the Archbishop of Edessa.
The Seljuks, under Jikirmish ( sounds like something Borat would say), governor of Mosul, and Sokman, the Artuqid lord of Mardin, gathered in the area of the Khabur, and in May 1104 they attacked Edessa, perhaps to distract the crusaders from Harran, perhaps to take the city while the crusaders were elsewhere engaged.


The Crusader left and center



 Tancred and Bohemund arrived at Edessa during the siege, but the Seljuks rode away from the crusaders, feigning a retreat and the crusaders followed.
The Seljuks feigned retreat in the preliminary skirmishes while the Crusaders continued their pursuit south across the Bailakh River near Harran
Baldwin and Joscelin commanded the Edessan left wing while Bohemond and Tancred commanded the Antiochene right. The crusaders were caught unawares when the Seljuks turned to fight, so much so that Baldwin and Bohemond fought without armor.
During the battle itself, Baldwin's troops were completely routed, with Baldwin and Joscelin captured by the Turks. The Antiochene troops along with Bohemond were able to escape to Edessa.

The Crusader center and right


Our game began at the point where the Turks had crossed the river and then turned on the pursuing Crusaders.......and sadly despite some fierce charges and bloody melee, went pretty much along historical lines. On the Crusader left (Roger) the forces crossed the river and were quickly surrounded. They punched their way through the first line but like flies in a spider's web were quickly smothered- some excellent die rolls by Phil ensured that very few escaped.
In the centre (Chris for the Crusaders - me for the Seljuks) desultory skirmishing saw a slow erosion of casualties but nothing catastrophic.
On the Crusader right  (Paul) they failed to make much headway across the river, Ross' troops successfully holding them- and with the collapse of the other wing- they quietly withdrew.


Crusader infantry advance

Seljuk skirmishers...leading  the Crusaders on.

The Crusader left- across the river, the Seljuks

The Seljuk left.

Archer forward!

The Table!



Crusaders slam into the Seljuk heavies. These boys know how to charge!!


The Crusader left drawn across the river finds itself being enveloped.

The Crusaders!

Main battle lines about to clash

The Seljuk left.

The Crusaders initially had the upper hand as Roger led them across the river- but the Seljuks soon recovered- not least because Phil knows how to throw more than his fair share of 6s!!!




6 comments:

  1. Beautiful masses of cavalry, splendid armies!

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    1. Thanks Phil. Loads of cavalry always looks impressive!

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  2. great looking game.
    Wargaming on a massive scale.
    Lovely.
    Regards
    Stuart

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    1. Thanks Stuart- everybody had to bring some troops! The numbers soon add up.

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  3. Hi John, excellent, very impressive, have updated such on Scimitar and Crescent Wargames, also included a link on the main list of wargame sites to visit. Looking forward to seeing those Ottomans in action.

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    1. Thank you!...yes my friend Richard has thrown down the gauntlet to take on his late Burgundians...very soon I hope.

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